The Goldman Sachs code swipe “scandal”

I hate GS as much as any decent person, but most of the reporting on this story is just idiotic, so I have to get my two cents in.

You can find the story on Zero Hedge. True, Zero Hedge is the world’s biggest poser. He does not actually understand the affidavit or its implications. But he does include a copy of it, which is very useful.

Here is what happened. Some Russian guy got a job as a software engineer for Goldman Sachs. His title was “Vice President”, but on Wall Street, first-year hires are called “Vice President” because they earn $400k/year.

In late May, Russian dude tells GS he is leaving for some firm in Chicago for 3x his salary. Then during his last five days of employment, he decides to take some of “his” code with him. He encrypts it, uploads it to a file sharing site in Germany (whose domain is registered in the UK), then downloads it to his home machine. He does a horrible job of covering his tracks and gets caught. When confronted by the FBI, he waives his Miranda rights, admits to everything, but claims that he was only trying to take “open source” code. That last bit is a lie; if the files were open source, there would be no reason to encrypt them nor to delete the log. But the rest of his story has the ring of truth.

He absolutely was not trying to upload the code to some German or UK entity. He was trying to steal the code, not give it away (duh).

The affidavit is fun reading. I particularly enjoyed the attempts to explain bash (“an operating system”), .bash_history files, and why if you try to delete one without knowing what you are doing, it doesn’t work.

Anyway, if the code was going anywhere, it was going to his new employer, and it sounds like the FBI nabbed him before that happened. So this is one large nothingburger.

On a personal note… One thing that is clear from this story, and the guy’s sad attempts to inflate his resumé with jargon, is that I could do his job. Wow, I could make a lot of money if I sold my soul to the devil.


Dude is a pretty serious Erlang/OTP hacker.

2 comments to The Goldman Sachs code swipe “scandal”

  • Bond Girl

    I was actually waiting for your take on this story :)

    If you ever change your mind, my guess is there’s now a job opening in Chicago…

  • snoopy

    Dude is a pretty serious Erlang/OTP hacker.

    Does that mean you can’t do his job anymore?

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